On Hope and Independence

Note: This post is different from the typical posts that I are on this blog. It is about something that made me think when I watched a TV show recently. I will explain the set-up of a story I heard on the show. After that, please take some time to think about what you would do if you were the character in that story. Then, move on to the next section which will show the original ending of the story, and the ending that came to my mind right before I heard the original ending on the show (there’s a pause in the show).

The set-up

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was very sick. There was a tree outside her room that she saw everyday through a window. Seeing the leaves on the tree fall off, she told her father that when all the trees had fallen off of the tree, she would die too.

Her father, hearing this, decided to do something about it.

At this point, take a moment. What would you do if you were the little girl’s father?

The ending

He went to the tree when there was only one leaf left on it. He stuck the leaf to the tree with glue, ensuring that it will never fall off.

Every morning, the little girl would wake up and see the leaf on the tree. Seeing that one leaf hang on for life, would rejuvenate the little girl’s will to live.

An alternate ending

When I heard the set-up of this story, I thought of a very different ending. I did not think about what the father in the story did at all. This is what I thought the father would do:

Seeing his daughter connect her will to live to the tree outside her window, he realized what he needed to do. The next morning, he took his daughter out to the tree and said to her: “This tree, it has nothing to do with how long you will live. You will live a long, happy, full life.” He started plucking the leaves one by one from the tree. His daughter panicked, she looked at him, not understanding why her father was doing this. Her eyes filled with tears.

In a few minutes, her father had plucked all the leaves on the tree except for one. He took his daughter’s hand and brought her closer to the tree. He asked her to pluck the final leaf. The little girl, afraid of what might come about, refused to do so. Her father took her hand and wrapped it around the leaf and pulled it from the tree. The leaf was in the little girl’s hand.

Looking at it, the little girl understood that she did not need the tree to continue living; everything she needed was within herself.


There are a lot of stories that are meant to give people who have lost hope a chance to regain it. Constantly, we hear them in TV shows, on YouTube videos that are released in the last week of every December, from journalists who have seen something heart-warming in the toughest of terrains. They are all trying to desperately convince the viewer that “The searches for hope outnumbered the searches for fear.” (something from one of Google’s “Year in review” videos)

I think they are meant to enforce the narrative of being a collective, of being together, of fighting crises by joining forces, of not being alone. Allowing anyone to connect their life to something outside of themselves seems unnecessary. Why should the little girl have to depend on the existence of leaves on a tree to continue living?


Delhi Crime, a 2019 Netflix show; Season 1, Episode 6, 36:30